#Saudi General Authority for Audiovisual Media investigates anchor Shereen Rifai “for violating regulations and instructions” by “wearing indecent clothing” during a report she present on ending the ban on women driving in #SaudiArabia according to Okaz newspaper pic.twitter.com/3PDvRwVe2q— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) June 26, 2018
A female television reporter was doing her job as she reported on the historic lifting of the driving ban in Saudi Arabia.
However, during filming, the wind blew open Shireen al-Rifaie's abaya, which is a traditional loose-fitting robes Saudi women are required to wear, and revealed what she was wearing underneath; a white blouse and trousers.
Apparently, this was offensive enough for Saudi authorities to launch an investigation.
The General Commission for Audiovisual Media is looking into the video clip that shows the now-controversial broadcast. Even though al-Rifaie has reportedly left Saudi Arabia for the U.A.E., the investigation will continue.
Al- Rifaie is a Saudi national who works for Al Aan TV, which is based in Dubai.
Saudi Arabia adheres to an austere form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism. Both men and women have to follow strict dress codes. Women are required to wear abayas and cover their hair, men are expected to wear modest clothing, traditionally an ankle-length garment called thobe or thawb. Also, there is an entire police force to ensue the public complies with the religious dress code in public.
While policing what people are wearing is itself an absurd and unjust policy, what makes al-Rifaie's case even more outrageous is that she was fully covered underneath her abaya.
Her case is just another example of how, despite the recent wave of so-called progressive reforms, Saudi Arabia remains a deeply conservative nation.
Just in March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated during his "60 Minutes" interview that Saudi women should have a choice whether to wear the abaya or not. But the administration under his de-facto leadership continues to practice the opposite of his statement.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Samimalki at Arabic Wikipedia